A year of pescetarian parenting and related discoveries.

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Thursday, February 25

Eat Your Corn Dog and Study Hard

     I am pretty impressed with this news ... and inspired ...
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/a-push-for-students-to-start-their-week-without-meat/#more-137163 My daughter said corn dogs were the hot entree one day last week. Is there anything nutritious about a corn dog? Oh right, the ketchup. It's a bit surprising to me that this situation (school menus)has actually gotten worse over the last few years, instead of better. Not sure why I'm surprised by that. But I can tell I'm going to have to start making some noise.

Nutrition Information for: Corn dog (frankfurter or hot dog with cornbread coating)
Calorie Count: 273.26
Corn dog (frankfurter or hot dog with cornbread coating)
Amount Per 1 corn dog
Calories 273.26
Calories from Fat 158.1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17.57g 27%
Saturated Fat 6.67g 33%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.82g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.11g
Cholesterol 46.48mg 15%
Sodium 702.78mg 29%
Potassium 139.46mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 19.71g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1.05g 4%
Protein 8.62g 17%
Vitamin A 2 % Vitamin C 0 %
      Here's an intersting recipe, a twist on traditional chowder. It has far too much cheese in it I think, but we know why, and can tweak it to taste. Is it possible that a gigantic batch of fresh (and local!) chowder could really be more expensive to serve to schoolchildren that an imported git-load of nasty frozen previously deepfried corndogs?! My little harbor town should not be too proud of that school lesson.

Tuesday, February 23

Happy Pancake Day!

     I didn't even know there was a National Pancake Day but it certainly is a holiday that a pescetarian family can rally 'round! Today only - free pancakes at IHOP! Perfect for school vacation.

   "Join IHOP to celebrate National Pancake Day on Tuesday, February 23, 2010. From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., we'll give you one free short stack (three) of our famous buttermilk pancakes.*
* There is a limit of one free short stack per guest. The offer is valid at participating restaurants for dine-in only while supplies last and is not valid with any other offer, special coupon or discount."

     Do try to make sure you work some fruit into your pancake plan. And do please ignore that strange bacon ice cream idea mentioned in the Huffington Post article....


Monday, February 22

Spinach Eggs Italiano

The kids are home from school this week. In fact each of my kids has a house guest right now. That's a lot of hungry teenagers, so I know I'm going to have to come up with a quite a few meals .... Meatless Monday has provided this plan for another refreshing way to serve eggs that I'm going to try. What I really love about this one is that it qualifies as a super foods meal. I might use provolone cheese though which is what I have on hand. Spinach Eggs Italiano The rest of the pesto will make another meal with pasta.

Sunday, February 21

Yummara Muhammara!

     Here is my recipe for Muhammara (see previous post for backstory). I served it again last night at a cocktail party and it was a hit. What I really love about it is that it qualifies as a super food, every ingredient offering life enhancing properties. I also give the nutrition stats at the end, though they were calculated using the recipe from Epicurius which is close enough. This shows what a healthy food it truly is. The rich smoky flavor makes it taste so decadent, I needed proof, and thought you might too. The same site did say that to burn off the 160 calories in a serving you will need to shoot hoops or paint a fence for 33 minutes, so that's something to keep in mind. Since I love Muhammara so much I guess it's a not such a bad thing that my back yard fence is in dire need of attention. Seriously, you could have this dip with fresh syrian bread and sliced cucumbers as it is traditionally eaten, and you've got a wonderful meal. Perfect for a picnic.
     But Muhammara doesn't have to be limited to a dip. It would make an excellent sauce with kebabs, as it would a sandwich spread in place of mayo, and I'm thinking about tossing it with pasta...
     The last three ingredients listed are additions of my own that are not traditional and not necessary. Other additions that are sometimes used depending on the region of origin, that you can play with are; honey, pine nuts, tomato paste and yogurt. The one ingeredient you don't want to play with is the pomegranate molasses. Surprisingly inexpensive, considering it is concentrated pomegranate juice. You shouldn't have any trouble finding it in a good food market.


2  roasted red peppers
1/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 shake crushed red pepper flakes, Aleppo if you can find (more if you like heat)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
chopped fresh parsley and cilantro

Toss all into blender and puree for just a couple of minutes.
Should be chunky but not too stiff. Add a bit more oil if needed.
Make a day ahead when possible as the flavor actually improves!

Nutrition Facts on Muhammara (Epicurious' recipe) provided by LIVESTRONG.COM

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving :

Calories 160, Calories from Fat 17
% Daily Value *

Total Fat 1.91g 3%
Saturated Fat 0.21g 1%
Monounsaturated Fat 0.36g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.21g
Sodium 16.49mg 1%
Potassium 338.56mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2.38g 10%
Sugars 4.29g
Protein 5.95g 12%
Vitamin A 0.01
Vitamin C 41.71
Calcium 140.68
Iron 8.29
Vitamin E 0.3
Thiamin (B1) 0.18
Riboflavin (B2) 0.09
Niacin (B3) 0.61
Vitamin B6 47.87
Phosphorus 138.62
Magnesium 28.65
Panthothenic Acid 0.49
Zinc 7.2
Manganese 1.49
Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 10.7%  Carbs 77.5%  Protein 14.9%

Thursday, February 18

Our Sexy Saint Valentine's Day Dinner

     It's been a hectic week so I apologize for the lateness of this post, but still want to share with you the meal I prepared for Valentine's Day. The highlight was my new favorite food which I had just tried for the first time a few days earlier at a wonderful Cambridge, Massachusetts restaurant called Casablanca. My friend Kathleen introduced me to it and in keeping with the holiday at hand, I fell madly in love with Muhammara. I began studying recipes when I got home and will post my version for you which came out wonderfully but you can try another or tweak it to taste. It's very easy and adaptable and there are lots of versions depending on the region of origin. I can't resist adding fresh herbs which is not standard. I am sharing with you the description of this wonderful syrian dip given by award winning food blogger Barbara Fisher because I simply couldn't say it better;

      "Muhammara: It's Vegan, It’s Good For You and It’s Damned Sexy
     Muhammara is a dip, spread, sauce, condiment or salad that is said to have originated in Aleppo, Syria, although, it is served and eaten all over the Middle East. It is also sexy: red, a little spicy, smooth, and oh so slippery on the tongue and tingly on the lips. It’s like a long kiss that you don’t want to end: and the best part is this–it’s good for you. It is made from ingredients that are full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, and it is just plain good. Low in calories, high in nutrients, and it tastes naughty, like you are blowing your diet just by looking at its come-hither-scarlet self. Muhammara. Say it with me, slowly, sensually: “Muhammara.” ...  Mmmm. Yeah. "

     How could we ever have had anything else for Valentine's Day?!? So I served it as part of a traditional mezze plate as our appetizer, with fresh pita bread, baba ganoush, and olives.

Our second course was a delicious spinach salad with orange slices, pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds, tossed with a refreshing pomegranate dressing. We paced these courses slowly over the evening, while sipping Joe's pomegranate cosmos.

The main course was pan seared Moroccan scallops with eggplant confit which I served over whole grain couscous. The recipe was courtesy of http://vanillabeancafe.blogspot.com/2008/06/moroccan-scallops-with-eggplant-confit.html who is one of my favorite food bloggers. Here's my photo;

I only serve dessert on special occasions and on this night we shared one. A scoop of mocha java chip ice cream with butter cookies and  chocolate covered stawberries. It was a memorable meal which is what I think life should be marked by. And most of it was as good for our bodies as it was for our souls. I can say there were no complaints from the meat eating man...

Tuesday, February 16

Veggin' Out

     This post will be of the most interest to people who live in my area, southern New Hampshire. It's an article by Kristyn Miller about the best vegetarian restauants in our region, with wonderful descriptions of some of their best offerings. I've only been to a couple of them, so I plan to make it to all of them over the year, and will write about what I sample when I do.
      A few days ago I picked up the new cod sandwich and fries from Wendy's for the kids. I think it is important not to completely ban fast food from kid's diets, but to allow it a few times each year and to model what to order. I also was curious as to what the "new" sandwich tasted like. It was ok, as fast food goes I guess. My daughter wasn't interested at all, so my son ate two. I'm glad they are offering it, but I'm not recommending it. Try Kristyn's tips instead;

Monday, February 15

Eggs Pipérade and more on champions

     I am sharing a recipe that our friends at Meatless Mondays featured today. Eggs Pipérade This is something different than what we usually do with eggs at our house, so I wanted to give it a try. We now have at least one egg based meal per week since we've changed to the pescetarian diet. And I need to expand my egg repertoire accordingly. This one, which doesn't include cheese, will be a good choice for us. I also want to make a case for eggs. You do not need to worry about the cholesterol in eggs if you have eliminated beef and pork from your diet. They are an excellent protien source, and a pretty darn healthy food, especially if you avoid using a lot of butter in preparing them. Give it a try!
     Also, an update about the champion athlete diets. I did do some investigating, looked into the diets of the one still active athlete on the slide show, a football player, as well as Lance Armstrong's, and am absolutely thrilled to report what I found out. Both are pescetarian! They supplement with lots of fish and eggs. Their aim is optimal physical fitness and wellness, which they feel can't be achieved when eating meat. I'm really glad I looked into that!

Saturday, February 13


     Update re: last post; accroding to Joe all of those champion athletes were great because they ate meat at some time. "Your body needs meat," he says. He wants to know how they can possibly get enough Omega-3's and other essential nutrients, so I will find out and share with him and you when I do. He did seem to enjoy the gourmet pescetarian Valentine's Day dinner I cooked him tonight. Will post the menu with photos soon.

Thursday, February 11

Champion Vegetarians

     Here is a fascinating, and fairly surprising, slide show that only takes a couple of minutes to view. This is one that should be shared with children, to remind them that nothing is out of their reach, especially if they are safeguarding their health. It is also pretty useful to share with naysayers and skeptics... speaking of which I am curious to know what Joe will have to say to this....

Wednesday, February 10

This just in ...

from The American Heart Association today;
Nothing really new, bottom line; eat fish for good heart health.

Tuesday, February 9

Healthy Kids

     Here are the elements of the "Let's Move" Campaign launched by the First Lady today, intended to help us get and keep our children healthy. It is usually touted as being a platform to combat childhood obesity which is an unprecedented life shortening epidemic in our country requiring action, but it will benefit all children, and the whole country in the long run. I like the way the focus is often on empowering parents. See what you think;

Monday, February 8

Love, Beans, and Obamas

     I'm starting to plan my Valentine's Day menu (I like to cook a special dinner for my loved ones on Valentine's Day). And this recipe, featured on Meatless Monday today, is at the front of the running right now.Quinoa Chili  is from a post called Cooking for a Vegan Lover, but can be served to lovers of all shapes and sizes and really does sound like an excellent choice for this special day.Perhaps I'll serve it as a first course... I just happened to pick up a bag of cranberry beans at a local gourmet food shop yesterday, and because they are so beautiful I want to do something special with them. (I'll write more about them in an upcoming post, research is still underway.) Maybe love is in the air this week, but so far I can say that the more I get to know the cranberry bean the more smitten I am gettin'...
     Also wanted to share this piece from The Washington Post in case you missed it. I've been closely following and am so happy about the first lady's work on nutrition for American children. I am starting to get more fired up than ever about the food service in my local school system, especially as my daughter is bringing home reports of how much trouble she is having with vegetarian choices at her middle school. I am sure I'll be writing more about that too.
     Almost forgot to say that the culinary highlght of the weekend was, by far, when Joe brought me out to dinner on Saturday night to The Three Chimneys Inn in a nearby town, and I had pan seared scallops over lobster risotto with asparagus, followed by espresso creme brulee. I loved everything about that meal.

Sunday, February 7

Super Bowl Salad

     Here's what I whipped up today. Though I didn't watch the game, I wanted to make this for my family, and it really is enough to feed a crowd. First I made a small batch of guacamole (just one avocado). I love making guac with my old wooden stomper. I like to teach the kids that it's a sin to use electricity to do simple things you can do by hand just as well.
     Then I layered in a rectangular baking dish in this order; 1 can of refried beans, 1 jar corn and black bean salsa, a handful of chopped onions, the guacamole, a small container of sour cream mixed with one tablespoon chipolte ranch dressing, a few ounces shredded cheddar and jack cheeses, and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. This dip was warmed in the oven at 350.While in a large platter I layered a tossed salad of chopped onion, 2 types of lettuce, a handful of broccoli sprouts, a chopped tomato, and some more cilantro, and a generous layer of tortilla chips. When the dip was warm and melty, I took it out of the oven and slid the warm dip on top of the cold salad.
     Makes a fine meal or a special snack. You don't have to wait for a game of violence, any old special occaision will do!

Friday, February 5

Changing the world with your fork

Forget about buying a prius, you can do more good with your fork...
Have you considered Meatless Mondays? It is a wonderful family project (it's how we got started) and it really does make a difference. This weekend though make sure there are some veggie options on game day. Nachos with corn and bean salsa are always a hit. It will be a good time to talk about ideas for meatless meal ideas for the next day...

Tuesday, February 2

Letter of Fervent Love

Here is yet another angle to examine this subject from. Certainly one that I had not considered before.

The letter of fervent love for cattle:
     Around this time, Sayadaw started exhorting people not to eat cattle or oxen. He taught that oxen correspond to fathers who plow the land and give food to the family. Cows resemble mothers, who feed milk to their children. Human beings should not eat the meat of oxen and cows because they are so similar to parents. Sayadaw wrote many open letters at that time urging people to abstain from eating beef.
- from "The Letter of Fervent Love for Cattle: or Gomettasa, an Admonitory Letter for the Abstention from Eating Beef," as found in A Short Biography of Ven. Ledi Sayadaw, an influential Buddhist monk who died in 1923.
artist unknown


Monday, February 1

Another angle -" Your Ecological Umbilical"

     "The average person creates the landscape our children will inherit three times a day by the way we eat. So ... we opt out. We quit feeding the industrial wolf. The two beefs here, the one that you feed will grow. ... Global change starts with us not being victims and taking charge of our own responsibilities." ~ Joel Salatin
     This is the point of my blog, that what we are teaching our children about stewardship of the planet is as important as the same efforts we make for their health. When we feed our children we are teaching them many different things that they carry forward into the future. It's what we are doing for our grandchildren and hopefully, their children.
     If you've got some time hear more on this subject at; http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2010/01/28/everything-i-want-to-do-is-illegal-with-joel-salat.